Sergio Mora (left), Bryan Vera (center) and Charles Hatley (right) pose following the final press conference for the ESPN2-televised “Super Brawl” card on Friday in Fort Worth, Texas. Photo /James Huges-Fightwireimages.com
SERGIO MORA vs. BRYAN VERA
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / super middleweights
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
The backdrop: The mission for Mora (22-1-2, 6 KOs), who was harshly criticized for putting up more of a fight during his controversial draw with Shane Mosley last September, is to rekindle fan interest in his career. The 30-year-old East L.A. native believes the best way to achieve that goal is to engage in a fan-friendly fight, which Vera (17-5, 11 KOs) should help him deliver. Vera is bigger, stronger and more aggressive than Mora, but the 29-year-old Fort Worth native is lesser skilled than the side-winding boxer who gained a degree of fame by winning the first season of The Contender and a measure of respect by upsetting the late Vernon Forest for the WBC 154-pound title in 2008. Vera, a rugged boxer-puncher, will pressure Mora into fighting more than usual but will still probably lose a decision. On the undercard, Charles Hatley, a promising Dallas-area prospect coming off an entertaining decision victory over celebrated journeyman Emanuel Augustus, faces talented San Diego-based spoiler Chris Chatman. Hately (14-0, 11 KOs), a 25-year-old former amateur star, figures to be tested by Chatman (9-1, 4 KOs), a cagey and athletic southpaw who is coming off back-to-back victories over unbeaten fighters Alberto Herrera (TKO 4) and Lester Gonzalez (UD 8). The 26-year-old Chicagoan’s only loss was a competitive six-round decision to U.S. Olympian Demetrius Andrade.
Also fighting: Charles Hatley vs. Chris Chatman, eight rounds, welterweights
Rating the card: B+. The main event of this Friday Night Fights broadcast should be a competitive fight despite the fact that Vera has lost four of his last six bouts. All but one of Vera’s last six opponents were unbeaten standouts, including Andy Lee, who he stopped in seven rounds in 2008. Hatley-Chatman also appears to be an even match on paper.
LUIS FRANCO vs. LEONILO MIRANDA
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / featherweights
Location: Santa Ynez, Calif.
The backdrop: When is a fight between a guy with eight pro bouts and a guy with 34 pro bouts an even matchup? When the guy with eight fights was a Cuban amateur standout who engaged in over 400 amateur bouts and represented his country at the 2004 Olympics. Such is the case with Franco (8-0, 5 KOs), a 29-year-old boxer-puncher that promoter Gary Shaw signed last year with very high expectations. Franco’s first test will come against Miranda (32-2, 30 KOs). However, the ShoBox main event will also be a test for the 28-year-old Mexican. Miranda attracted considerable hype by the end of 2008 when his record was a sparkling 30-0 (28). However, the puncher was knocked out by unbeaten boxer Orlando Cruz in his first bout of 2009 and was then out-pointed by journeyman Gilberto Bolanos in his very next fight. Miranda won two bouts by KO last year but Franco is his first significant step up in competition since facing Cruz. On the undercard, powerful cruiserweight prospect Lateef Kayoed (15-0, 14 KOs) looks to build on a successful 2010, which included an eighth-round stoppage of Alfredo Escalera Jr. on ShoBox and five other KO victories. The 27-year-old L.A.-based Nigerian takes on Nicholas Iannuzzi (16-1, 9 KOs), a 34-year-old Tampa native who has built up a respectable record against so-so opposition.
Also fighting: Lateef Kayode vs. Nicholas Iannuzzi, 10 rounds, cruiserweights
Rating the card: B. Franco-Miranda is an intriguing boxer-puncher matchup that pits amateur experience and savvy against pro seasoning and power. The Kayode-Iannuzzi bout appears competitive on paper until Iannuzzi’s sole loss — a first-round TKO to journeyman Harvey Jolly (then 9-11-1) in 2009 — is factored in.
MICHAEL PEREZ vs. MARCOS HERRERA
Rounds / weight class: eight rounds / lightweights
Location: Lares, Puerto Rico
The backdrop: Perez (11-0-1, 5 KOs) is a versatile technician whose poise belies the fact that he just turned 21. However, the Newark, N.J.-based boxer received all he could handle from 6-foot spoiler Jose Hernandez in his last bout, an eight-round slugfest in Puerto Rico in December. Perez, who is at his best when he’s boxing and moving, barely won a hotly contested split decision over the Texas slugger, but he proved that he could go toe-to-toe with a big, strong and game opponent. Perez’s second appearance in his native Puerto Rico (this time in his hometown of Lares) shouldn’t be as difficult as it was in December. Herrera (6-3-1, 2 KOs), a 22-year-old journeyman from Colorado, is tough but he isn’t as tall, rangy or technically sound as Hernandez. On the undercard, 22-year-old junior featherweight prospect Jayson Velez (14-0, 11 KOs), of Caguas, Puerto Rico, stays busy against Mexican journeyman Juan Jose Beltran (24-19-3, 15 KOs). Hot junior middleweight prospect Michael Zewski (6-0, 4 KOs), of Quebec, Canada, is also on the Solo Boxeo card.
Also fighting: Jayson Velez vs. Juan Jose Beltran, eight rounds, junior featherweights
Rating the card: C+. Perez is a prospect worth watching but his fight with Herrera won’t be near as entertaining as his battle with Hernandez was. Velez should pretty much have his way with Beltran who was knocked out by unbeaten prospects in five of his last 10 bouts.
FRANCISCO SIERRA vs. DYAH DAVIS
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / super middleweights
Location: Maywood, Calif.
Television: Fox Sports Net/Fox Deportes
The backdrop: Sierra (23-3, 21 KOs) and Davis (18-9, 9 KOs) are young fringe contenders who hope to break into the top 15 of the various 168-pound rankings with a victory on this Top Rank Live! main event. Sierra, a 23-year-old pressure fighter from Mexico, has scored three KO victories since getting blasted in one round by Edison Miranda in 2009. Among his recent victims are former welterweight beltholder Jose Luis Lopez and unbeaten prospect Don George. Davis, the 29-year-old son of 1976 Olympic gold medalist Howard Davis Jr., dropped an eight-round decision to Aaron Pryor Jr. in his last bout but prior to that loss the slick-boxing Floridian was on a nine-bout win streak. On the undercard, lightweight brawler Oscar Meza (20-4, 17 KOs) takes on tough journeyman Leo Martinez (15-14, 7 KOs). Freddie Roach-trained heavyweight prospect Andy Ruiz (7-0, 5 KOs) is also on the card.
Also fighting: Oscar Meza vs. Leo Martinez, eight rounds, lightweights
Rating the card: B-. The co-featured bouts are not very significant but the style matchups should produce entertaining fights.
Also fighting on Saturday:
Mexican veteran Tomas Rojas (34-12-1, 23 KOs) defends his WBC 115-pound belt against former two-time titleholder Nobuo Nashiro (14-2-1, 9 KOs) in Osaka, Japan.
Rigoberto Alvarez (26-2, 19 KOs), the older brother of Mexican star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, takes on undefeated prospect Austin Trout (21-0, 13 KOs) in a 12-round junior middleweight bout for the vacant WBA title in Guadalajara, Mexico. The fight headlines the Sabados De Corona series on Televisa, Mexico’s largest network.